Madeline: 10 years old

Pensive Madeline wm.jpg

Well, we’re just a tad behind with this one… 9 months to be exact… (That was at the time of doing the actual interview.  Tack on another five months to get it published…)

You could have had a baby in that time!

Yes, that’s how delayed this interview has been.  I could have grown and birthed a baby since you actually turned 10. (But she’s not 11 yet, so sitting in the Black Bear campground parking lot on a date, we are determined to capture her 10 ¾ year old self.)

So, tell me about 5th grade.

Well, it’s harder than 4th grade.

What kinds of interesting things are you learning?

Mostly in science.  Eyeballs, nose, nostrils.

What about history?

Ooh! That’s one of my favorites! Well, partly because I get to draw while you’re reading to us.  Also, though, I do enjoy hearing about all the … I guess you could say, strange … achievements.  Like how Alexandria got its name.  We’ve been talking about the Greeks.  They were very double-minded.  Very, very double minded.  They would say, “Hey! You’re our hero!”  And then when the hero did some teensy weensy thing they didn’t like, they would say, “We banish you!” And then two years later, when they’re in trouble they say, “Hey! Come rescue us!”  Double minded Greeks…

Hebrew is actually my favorite. Ani ohevet pizza.  (Translated: I like pizza.) Ani ohevet mischpacha v’morah.  (Translated: I love my family and teacher.)  Ani yalda.  (Translated: I am a girl.)  Ani lo kelev.  (I am  not a dog.)

What do you like to do when you’re not doing school?

Oh, all kinds of things!  Write, draw, play with siblings, eat.

(She neglected to mention reading.  This girl reads all the time.  She consumes books ridiculously quickly. Below are some moments Erich caught of Madeline reading at Mimi and Grandpa’s house.)



Let’s develop some of those things a bit.  Tell me more about your writing.

One thing every one of my stories has in common (except when I was littler) is all of them are very, very complicated.  This is a relative of this character, who is the mother of the daughter, who is the sister of this girl, who is actually adopted into the family…You get the picture.

And what types of stories do you write?

I write novels.  And series of books. Most of them are dramedies.  They are dramas with some comedy.

I wrote Luctom the Croc, which is basically a comedy. Luctom is this crocodile and he is the largest one in the zoo.  This was actually based on a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that we took.  We stayed in this fancy hotel and ate wonderful breakfast.  Man, that was fun.  Well, so… He’s this crocodile who is grumpy.  He doesn’t want to be bothered or messed with.  He was annoyed by everything and everyone. They put a girl crocodile in, and they mated.

Does he get happy after he has a wife?

Yep! The story doesn’t really have a point or teach anything.  It’s just supposed to be fun.

(bathroom break)

Tell me a bit about your drawings.

Well, I kinda go through phases with drawing. There was one point where I drew Esther. Esther. Esther.  You get the picture. One of the biggest sections in my drawing binder is the Esther section.

Now I am going through a Mary and Joseph and Yeshua phase.  Drawing all about that era.  Different scenes, like the wise men going to see Yeshua when he was a baby.  I put the scenes in order, from when Mary was pregnant and she went to see Elizabeth, and John jumped in her tummy. Then Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem.  And then Yeshua was born and the wise men came to see him.  There are more.

Tell me what you like to play with your siblings.

Well, we play cars with/without eyes.  We have a big rug with a road outside on the carport.  And we take our cars and drive them along the road and play with them.  Some of the cars have eyes, like the ones from the movie Cars.  There are also Hotwheels and toy Corvettes, which don’t have eyes. (Hence the name.)

And we also like to play pitch ball.  It’s a game we made up earlier today where someone sits in our little purple baby seat and there’s a blue ball… And there has to be at least three players.  So, that’s at least Kieryn, Anson, and I… Earlier this morning, there was Simeon too, which made it even more fun.  So, for example, Kieryn had the blue ball and Anson was sitting in the purple seat.  I stood by as a witness.  Kieryn gently tossed the ball when Anson wasn’t ready.  Or tried to at least.

So the point was to try to throw it when the other person wasn’t ready?

Yes. Anson tried to block the ball from hitting him, using his hands.  If Anson blocked the ball, Kieryn struck one.  If Kieryn hit Anson, then Anson struck one.  Three strikes and you’re out.  The person standing by takes the place of the one who struck out.  That’s really fun!


Tell me about your relationship with your siblings.

Anson and I are about the same age (2 years difference), so that makes us closer than the other siblings, in that sense.  So, he and I can relate in a lot of things.

Bible time b&w water

Like you do some school together.

Yes, like Hebrew.

And Kieryn and I are so close that Kieryn let me share the top bunk with her, and we sleep there together almost all the time.


Simeon and I are just about the youngest and the oldest. Except for Eden… So, we do some things together.  Sometimes Kieryn and Anson will be doing something with dad and Simeon and I will go jump on the trampoline by ourselves.

Once he helped you make up a really yummy cookie recipe, right?

Yes! That’s one of my favorites!  He likes to help me cook.  He’s one of the first siblings who comes up and says, “Can I help, Madeline?”  It’s rare that something would get in the way of him helping me.  It’s fun.

Also my relationship with Eden is great, even though she’s little and I’m bigger.  After mommy, she chooses me (most of the time). She and I do fun stuff too!  Like, we go and jump lightly on the trampoline together.  She loves that.  And I’ll walk up to Hank, and she’ll smile and squeal and reach out her hand.  I’ll show her how to pet gently.  We say, “geeeentle” in a soft voice.  (Sighs)  Good times.


What else?

Well, you said you also like to eat.  So, tell me about the foods you like to eat or cook.

I love this subject! I like to cook.  Some of my favorite recipes are posted on my blog.

As far as eating goes, I enjoy eating quesadillas with beans inside and sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top.  Yum!  I also like macaroni and cheese with broccoli.  And grilled chicken on salad.  Mmmm… I could name a million more things if they would come to mind…

What about desserts?

Yes! White bean cupcakes with whipped cream and strawberries!  Or black bean cupcakes with Memere’s frosting.  And I looooove Navajo Fry Bread.  And macademia nut clusters.  And banana split cake.

What kind of spiritual things are you learning lately?

Daddy’s been teaching us about watching our words and putting on the armor of God – the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the sword of the word, the shoes of readiness… Is that it?  Oh! The helmet of … I just looked at it this morning… The helmet of …

Want a hint?

Yes! What letter does it start with?

S… Want another hint?

No! … It’s not Satan.

True! We don’t put the helmet of Satan on!

It’s not slimy either.  Or sandwich.

Correct! Ready for another hint?  I can tell you the Hebrew version of the word.





And with that, it’s time for us to head over to get some ice cream before we go back to the house.  This girl is a joy to watch grow up.  She is a delight to us.  A magnificent gift.


Kieryn: Six years old

So we actually succeeded in doing an interview really close to her birthday! And by “we” I actually mean “Madeline.”  She has been helping me stay on-top of the birthday interviews this year. Madeline conducted the interview two days after Kieryn’s sixth birthday.  It just took me all the rest of this time to get pictures put in here…


So, how do you feel as a six-year-old girl?

I like it. I like getting older and older.

Good, because you’ll be doing a lot of that!🙂

Well, I’m in first grade.

That’s a good start. Umm. How do you like school?

Good. It’s not hard though.

Well, you must be a very smart girl then.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. Do you want to mention a subject you like best?

I like science. And I like Starfall. I like writing.

(Yes. She is such a wonderful, hard-working girl who loves to learn and read. Just recently, I finished a hand-written book and she loves to read it!)

What else do you like?

Hmmm. I like playing with my siblings.

K&S play wm

What else?

I don’t know, but I like playing with baby dolls with Madeline.

I like doing that with you too, but…. what do you like about having four siblings?


(I repeat the question.)

Jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes.

Good, well.. if you could choose three things that you would like to be able to do that you’re not allowed to do now, what would they be?

Ride bikes to the end of the road.

That’s one thing.

I… I want… I want to meet new friends in our neighborhood.

What’s another thing? One more thing.

Mmmmm. (She thinks for a minute and clicks her tongue in her mouth.) Why do you record everything I do?

So, what would you like to be when you get older?

I want to be a farmer. I want to make a place called Sugar Queen. (Ever since she’s been little, she has been the person in the family to finish her treats and offers to finish everyone else’s too. Now she wants to begin an ice cream shop called the “Sugar Queen” when she grows up.)

Okay, so explain what a “D.S.” is.

What kind of D.S.?

The kind that you think about.

Oh. I thought so. It’s a dream story kind of thing. When you grow up and have kids and get married. If you do get married and you do have kids.

So, what does that mean?

What do you mean?

Tell me how you grow up all of a sudden.

What do you mean?

What I’m saying is: Tell me what you do when you do a D.S.

You just lie down or sit down. You can close your eyes or open your eyes. And just pretend like you’re grown up. It’s easy, all right.

Well, why don’t you tell me what happened just recently in your D.S.

Oh you mean… when Zeke..

Well, explain what everything is, too.

Huh? What do you mean.

Well, who’s Zeke??

Oh. When I grow up, Zeke is one of my kids. He is.. ummm… mmmmm.. (she slaps her knee) Oh… Oh, Zeke is one. What do I say?

What were you saying before? About Zeke?

Well, Zeke crawled out to the road. And almost got hit. It freaked me to death.

In your D.S.?


What else?

Hmmm… I don’t know.

Why don’t you tell everyone about Happy Helpers.

We do this thing where we go across the neighborhood and help people.

How do we help?

We do chores and….

And what?

I don’t know?

Okay, so I have a silly question for you.

What is it?

If you could choose any animal that all of your family members could be, what would we be?

Lambs I guess. Or pigs that roll in the mud!!

You’re funny. And, I have another question for you: What is Daddy working on with you? Like, are you talking about sadness or fear?

I guess sometimes fear.

I have a couple more things for you and then we can be done, okay?


Umm.. What is your favorite kind of treat?

I don’t know!

Well, then, what’s your favorite Bible story?

I don’t know. I like Esther.

Okay. What do you like to play with Eden?

I don’t know.

Well, okay. I guess we’ll wrap up now then. Say bye!


(So Kieryn is quite funny, but she’s also such a blessing! You should see her around the house and while she’s interacting with siblings or friends! Also, I’ll have you know that one time before, I wrote: “Love you sweet girl” inside her notebook and then, just today, I found the same thing written in her handwriting inside my own book!🙂 I truly love her so much!)


Kieryn’s Kindergarten Year

We’re about ready to start our 2016-2017 year tomorrow.  Madeline starts 6th grade (I still think something must have gotten messed up somewhere, because that doesn’t seem possible).  Anson starts 4th.  And Kieryn starts 1st.

Before we begin, I thought I’d post the recap of Kieryn’s kindergarten year that our umbrella school asked me to turn in. (I have been so absent on this blog, that advantage needs to be taken when I can capture any memories with little extra effort.)

Kieryn B&W resize watermark

Kieryn had been eager to begin school for a while, but given my busyness with two in school ahead of her, and one toddler and a newborn behind her, I was not as eager.  Her oldest sibling, Madeline, however, began doing “school” with her when she was four, and by the time she began kindergarten this past school year, she was well-primed and ready to go.


We used Sonbeams as the basis for our Bible time.  Each week, we had a new verse to learn, going in ABC order.  The verses we memorized are:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Believe in the Lord Yeshua and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
Even a child is known by his actions by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
God is love (1 John 4:16)
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by YHWH? (Deuteronomy 33:29)
I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Make a joyful noise to YHWH, all the earth! (Psalm 100:1)
Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)
Do not be Overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Praise YHWH! (Psalm 148:1)
Look! I am coming Quickly and my reward is with me to repay each person according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Sing Unto YHWH a new song; Sing unto YHWH, all the earth. (Psalm 96:1)
I am the Vine; you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Do not be anXious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
YHWH your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

At the beginning of the week, we would read the verse and sing a song version of the verse.  Kieryn would read along in a “box” form of the verse, where every word was written in its own box like this:

Kieryn Kindergarten Scripture Box

After reading it, she would cut it into horizontal strips and would have to place it back in order.  The next day, we’d sing our verse song again and then cut the strips vertically one time.  She would again piece the words into the correct order. She continued cutting the strip each day until all the words were separate.  She also did a handwriting sheet where she traced the words of the verse.

Kieryn joins us for our daily family Bible time that her Daddy leads.  She also reads independently from her own storybook Bible.


Kieryn has completed a typing tutorial program on BBC’s website. It has four levels, each focusing on a group of keys.  It effectively teaches kids how to properly place their fingers and rewards them with dancing animals singing silly songs at the end of each level.


Kieryn completed her phonics program using the Starfall website and workbooks.  She is a very proficient reader, eager to practice her ever-expanding skills.


Taking after her big sister, who loves to write, Kieryn enjoys writing short stories. Most of her stories include words sounded out phonetically, which adds unintended adventure to the reading.  Occasionally, Kieryn will type a story and her sister will act as editor, correcting grammar. Other times, her sister will act as transcriptionist, typing out the story as Kieryn dictates it. Following is an excerpt from one such story:

Chapter 1

Dina was in a shack. It was her home. And she had lost her family. Her dog was named Marina. It was a girl dog. Dina ran with her dog to the store. Dina made her own bowls and plates out of sticks and other nature items. She got bread, butter, milk, eggs, and dog food. She paid ten dollars. She ran back with her dog. (Marina didn’t have a leash on either.) She ran back. She made dinner over a fire. And she gave Marina some dog food. And she ate some food. And then they went to bed.


Kieryn completed the Math U See Primer book this year.  Though she still needs a bit more work to remember how to write the numbers 11-19, and how to skip count by fives, I have no doubt she’ll gain mastery of those as we review them in the next level.


Kieryn joined her siblings as they studied elementary anatomy and physiology.  She colored sheets showing different bones, organs, and blood vessels.  She also memorized poems about each of the five senses:


I need my eyes, so I can see
I don’t have five, or one, or three
Just two eyes upon my face
It seems to be a common place
For eyes to sit on animals
From frogs, to fish, from bears, to gulls

Two eyes, one face – that’s a match
But really here’s a little catch
Spiders see with eight bug-eyes
And here’s another eye surprise
Scallops have most of all
More than fifty! Must see all!
I’ll stick with two; they let me see
My two eyes are good for me!


If sweet-sweet candy had no taste
That would be a total waste!

Chocolate milk that tastes like water?
Won’t be found on my order

Pizza pies that taste like air?
That’s not right! That’s not fair!

That won’t happen, for I know
Tongue’s the one in the show

Salty, sour, bitter, sweet
My tongue’s taste buds can’t be beat

My tongue, the organ, gives me taste
Without it foods would be a waste!


Skinny Skin, stretched smoothly tight
Around my body day and night

Largest organ that I own
Bigger than my brain or bone

My skin gives me the sense of touch
Hot or cold, smooth or rough

Hard or soft, hand or heel
It’s my skin that lets me feel

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
Jack Prelutsky


Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!


An ear splitting sound!
A crash and a boom!
Ringing so loudly,
It shook the whole room!

But I didn’t hear it
I couldn’t at all
My left and right ear
Had gone to the mall!

My left and right ear
My organs that hear
Had gone to go shopping
And that’s what I fear

Without my 2 ears
That spectacular pair
I can’t hear sound waves
Move through the air!

Disposition towards school

Kieryn is an excellent student.  In fact, she’s been my easiest student so far!  In general, she is very focused, has a cheerful attitude, does careful work, and does not get easily discouraged by corrections. I am so thankful for these things!


Anson: Nine-year-old

Anson’s birthday was a little over two weeks ago.  Given my record of majorly delayed interviews these last couple of years, combined with this being the day before we begin school, I asked Madeline to conduct Anson’s interview.  Not only would it free me up a bit, but I figured it would be neat to see how it went.😉


So, how do you feel? Being eight I mean.


Oh yeah. Sorry. I guess I’m just used to an eight-year-old-Anson! So, what are some of your hobbies?


What else?

Hmmm. Soccer, basketball.

Well, that’s cool. What kind of things do you like to eat?



Donuts. Cake. Ice cream.

(This picture is from last year, but it shows Anson’s love for ice cream.)

Anson St. George resize watermark

I’m not surprised.

Five Guys.

What else?

Zaxbys. Sonic. Chick-fil-a.

Well, okay, but you’re going junk-food.

Mmmhhhhmm. How about this: Caesar salad.

We’ve made a small improvement.

A pretty big improvement. How’s that?

That’s better.


So, I would like you to name something about all your family members you enjoy.

(Seconds pass. He puts his head on the table and bangs it gently. He’s thinking.) Well… funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, and funny.

That doesn’t count.


Do it again.

But everybody’s silly in our family.

Fine, but we all have different things we’re good at, or… you get it.

(Kieryn says to Anson, “Like you. You’re good at climbing!” They proceed to copy lines from Despicable Me. Then they get silly and start whispering lines! I love it when they interact.)

Kids swing wm.jpg

Guys! Let’s get moving. We only got a little bit in.

(Kieryn says, “But that’s a lot Madeline!” Then she begins to read the previous conversations.)

I’m serious. Let’s get going again. Anson, what do you like about being neighbors with our friends?

You’re supposed to say, “friends” he says in a southern accent. (He’s imitating our neighbor, Hadassah, who is Kieryn’s age. Then Kieryn begins to sing, “Friends, friends, friends!” Then they get up from the table and start running away, pretending they’re penguins.)

Anson! Come back! Okay, let’s try this one more time. Anson, okay, come here. You’re going to like this one! Tell me some fun facts about an animal.

Mmmm. A crocodile can get to be twenty feet long.

Wow! Really?

Yeah. Do you remember seeing Gomech? Imagine him three feet bigger!

Was Gomech a croc or gator?

Oh, definitely croc. He was a salt water crocodile.

Oh. I thought he was a gator. He was massive though! I bet he could’ve fit just about ten of me in there! What else do you know Anson?

Well, can I keep talking about this for a second?

Sure, go ahead.

Okay. Gators are much smaller than crocs. The biggest gator gets to be about 14 feet long.

And you say the crocs get to be even bigger?!


I didn’t know that! What else do you know? On another animal this time.

Okay. (He says sadly) I was going to say something really quick.

Well, go ahead I guess.

Thanks! Do you remember how tall was his head to the ground?

No I don’t. How tall?

I’m guessing probably how tall I was then.

I’m guessing you’re probably right.


Hey! Do you want to say what we found out Eden could do yesterday?

Yeah! She can walk!

Not just with our help though right?

Yeah! All by herself!

It’s very cool.

Yes it is.

Little Eden’s growing up.

IMG_9504 wm.jpg

Anson, I have another question for you.

Okay…. (He says it hesitatingly.)

You have a blog about animals, right?


Okay, what is it’s name?

Animal wow! Capitalize “Animal” and “Wow”

Actually, you don’t capitalize it.

No. I’m saying please do.

Oh, okay. Let’s see… Animal Wow. There.  So, do you want to link it?

(He nods) Yes!

Okay, here:

There. That’s done. What do you want to tell readers now?

(He thinks for a minute) I’m not sure.

Well, let me help you. mmmmm. Do you want to say something else about animals?

No it’s okay. They can go to my blog.

Okay, then. Umm. Do you want to say something that you like doing with Daddy?

Ummm. (Seconds go by.) Playing LEGOS. (He says, “No Madeline. It’s capitilized: LEGOS.” I capitalize it but the computer doesn’t recognize. He says, “What??!”)

What else?

I don’t know.

How about this: Ouch. (My wrist hurts from typing so much.)

(He says, “Ouch?”)

Well, let’s wrap it up soon, okay?

Okay! This interview is over!

No, I said, “SOON.”. Do you want to tell readers what kind of games you like to play with your siblings?

I don’t know.

You know Anson, we have 695 words right now typed up. Amazing?


Do you want to say what’s happened recently with Memere?

She’s in Florida.

For how long?

I don’t know.

Why is she there?

Cause Grande-memere had a stroke.

Right. Are we and you specifically praying for both of them??


(Here is a picture of mom and Anson playing chess while we were visiting Grande-memere in Florida)

Mom and Anson chess 4.JPG

That’s very good. Now…. Okay, let’s change the subject to more happy things: What time is it right now?

(He looks at the clock) 9:05

pm. or am?


That’s right! How have things been going with school?

I don’t know. We haven’t been doing school. We start it tomorrow.

Right! That’s funny. Okay, well, before we close-

Can we try to get to a thousand words?

Yeah! Sure! That’d be a fun thing to make as our goal. I’ll see if I can hold up until then. Right now we have 831 words. How many does that make to a thousand?

I don’t know.

Oh, common, Anson!


How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?


(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?


Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.


How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?


(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?


Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.


We’re there!

Wow!!! You’re right!!! We’re at 1013! That’s awesome!

Okay, just one more question……….. Two more: what bible verse has proved to help you when you need it.

Isaiah 41:10.

Recite it real quick.

Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Bible time b&w water

Good job! And what about your sleepover?


But nobody knows anything about it, so tell them about it.

I had a sleepover at AJ’s house. For two nights.

(Below is a picture of Anson and AJ at a field trip a few months back.)

AJ and Anson

I’m sure it was very fun. Alright, well, he’s eating oatmeal so we’ll wrap up now.

Bye! (Simeon says, “Bye!”)

Including this paragraph, we got to 1160 words without stop. He has grown into a handsome and wise young man. I encourage all those who read to comment on him and congratulate him and his parents for being raised and raising such excellence!

Kieryn: 5 years old

Kieryn park crop resize watermark

Oh, babygirl, Kieryn… Tell me about yourself.

What do you mean about myself?

(Okay, maybe that question  is still a bit too open-ended for a five year old.)

Well, tell me how you like doing school  now that you are a kindergartner.

Well, I like doing school, because I get to read books, and make books, and color.  I get to do science.  I get to count. (She proceeds to count to 20.) And that’s why I like school!  And I like doing Starfall.

(I must say, she is my best student so far.  Where Madeline had a bit of trouble accepting direction, Kieryn has none.  Where Anson struggled with motivation or discouragement, Kieryn has not.  She is eager to learn, and doesn’t crumble when I tell her that her 5 is backwards. It’s been a very exciting time as a teacher, especially considering that I was a bit concerned about what life would look like to incorporate a third child into our school day. She’s made it easy and fun!)

Tell me what your favorite book is.

Mox the Fox, because there are cakes in it.

(Yep, she’s still our Sugar Queen.  The others reach a point of being unable to finish a big treat, but not Kieryn.  She offers to finish what the others cannot.)

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What is your favorite book to read for bedtime? Like one that Mommy or Madeline reads to you.

I like the one, “How Can it Be Worse?”

Tell me what that story is about.

So, there’s a mom and a dad. They had a lot of kids.  They were making noise, and noise, and noise.  They didn’t want that.  So, they went to a person who told them, “Bring in the donkey. Bring in the cow. Bring in the goats.” And then they brought them in.  And then, I think, Miriam said, “It’s even worser!” So, they let all the animals out, and then it was quiet.

So their kids didn’t make noise anymore?

I think. (Madeline corrects.  “No, the parents just thought it wasn’t as loud.  The animals made extra noise, so when the animals went away it sounded quieter, and they realized it could be worse.)

What kinds of things do you like to do when it’s not school time?

Go outside and ride bikes with Simeon. (This is one of her primary activities when I am doing school with the two oldest.) Play with Anson’s cars with him. Or play babydolls with Madeline.

What else do you like to do with Madeline?

Feed her fish with her. And go outside with her.  And, um… Play babydolls.

What about drawing?

Yeah! Draw with her. Color with her.

(Madeline gives her drawing lessons, and will sometimes draw pictures for Kieryn to color. They have a very sweet, close relationship.  I’m not sure she knows it, but Madeline is her best friend.  Madeline washes her hair when they shower together and will help pick out her clothes and get her hair brushed and done up.  Sometimes they come out of the room after a long getting-ready-session and they both have fancy dresses and abundant accessories. They make sisterhood look beautiful.)

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What are you favorite dolls or stuffed animals?

Lamby is my favorite stuffed animal. I think Emma is the best doll.  I think so.

What is your favorite color?

Probably red. I really like red.

So, it’s not pink or purple anymore?

I don’t think so.

(Well, they say you learn something new everyday.  This is my something for today.)

What are your favorite things to eat?

Caesar salad with croutons, potato soup, juice, broccoli with Ranch, waffles.

What is your favorite thing God made?

Oh dear. Is this an animal thingy?

It could be.

Flowers, animals, humans, and trees and plants.

What is your favorite day of the week?

The Shabbat day and the days that we go on dates!

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?

That he lets us go to the park, and he lets us eat ice cream, and he lets us go to services. And he lets us see Johnny and Katie and lots of things.

(An interesting assortment of highlights!)

What is your favorite thing about Mommy?

Oh! You help us do school, and you help Daddy make money for us.  You cook breakfast and dinner and lunch for us. You have babies and that stuff.

(“You have babies and that stuff”… Yes, I guess I do.)

What is your favorite thing about Madeline?

That she draws with me.

What is your favorite thing about Anson?

Playing cars with him. And then what’s my favorite thing about Simeon?

Yep, that was my next question.

That we go and ride bikes together.

And what about Eden?

Oh, I like to hold her.  She’s cute.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

(She echos) What do I want to be when I grow up? …Um… Riding a horse and having a dog.  (“That’s not something you can be,” Madeline says. So, Kieryn adjusts.) A farmer.  Or making a shop and then people buy stuff and I get money. Now what, Mommy? Is that all?

What else would you like to say?

I like colorful leaves and flowers.

And with that, she’s done. She has grown so much over this last year.  We don’t see the abrupt mood swings that were so prevalent last year.  On the occasion when she gets sullen and draws inward, feeling inadequate or unimportant, she hears and responds to the truth we tell her. More and more, we find her settling into her role as a big, important part of this family. We are eager to watch our Elohim continue to grow her into a girl who will one day bring joy into darkness.

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Anson: 8 years old

In customary fashion, we are conducting our birthday interview slightly late.  Almost six months late, to be more precise. Nonetheless, here’s our eight year old boy.

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What is your favorite animal at eight years old?

Every animal.

Every animal? Name them all.  In alphabetical order.

I can’t name them…

What about your favorite animal? If you had to choose one, what would you choose?

I would leave the room.

Too many animals?

Yes, I like all animals.  Even mice. People look at the down side of them…

If you could be one kind of food what would you be?

I’d probably be… burnt gasoline, because nobody would eat me.

(The other kids have been sitting on the bed behind Anson until now.  But this was evidently too much for them to handle quietly.  Erich tries to reign them in.)

No comment from the peanut gallery, please.

Oh, good point! I’d be rotten peanuts! Then nobody would eat me.

(At this point, we pause the interview to reassess the interview direction. We resume, but it still takes a while for us to get to some really good stuff.)

What are some of your favorite things to do at eight years old?

Ride my bike, play soccer, play more soccer after that, play basketball, a little more basketball, come inside to watch tv, do a little not-so-fun school, jump on the trampoline…

Let me ask you a little bit about school.

Uh oh.

No. No bad attitudes about school. What is your favorite subject?

Oh dear… Maaa…. Grrrr…. Probably geography.  Well, actually, my first is science, but not the human stuff as much.  The animal stuff.

Do you have a least favorite subject in school?

Probably phonics or grammar.

You don’t like to label sentences much do you?

Not very much.

(But as his teacher, I must report that he does very well with them. On the days when he works with a good attitude, he zips through it pretty skillfully.)

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I want you to tell me just one thing you love about each of your siblings.  Starting with Eden.

She is so cute and she can crawl really quickly.  And I hope she can eat food soon.


Because then she’ll be able to eat my green beans for me and stuff.

You’re going to feed her your vegetables?

I like Caesar salad, and sometimes I eat asparagus.  But I can feed her black olives and stuff.

What about Simeon?

He’s funny and sometimes tricky.

What about Kieryn?

She’s funny. And now it’s Madeline.

Okay. What is one of your favorite things about Madeline?

Um… I like to play with her and she’s funny too.

We have a very funny family, don’t we?

You’re funny too.  And I love mom. And she helps us and cooks for us.  Well, usually.  Yesterday we made breakfast – the kids did.

(They did, indeed.  Every now and then, Erich and I wake to the sounds of clanking dishes.  We smell breakfast smells.  Then, the bigger ones send a smaller one into our room to make sure we stay put until they summon us. When we come downstairs, we find an empty, dark room. Suddenly, the lights come on and kids hop out of every corner shouting, “Surprise!”  We have cool kids.)

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What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Revelation.  Or Genesis.  Maybe the Psalms.  I also like to hear about the kings.

Tell me about the tapes you like to listen to before bed.

(A college-age friend of our family passed on her set of Bible story tapes from her childhood. Our kids listen to them almost every night.  It’s actually the primary motivator to get our kids ready and in bed by 8:30.  If they don’t get into bed in time, they don’t get a tape.)

The one about Elisha and the army of Assyria.  Their army was surrounding the city Elisha was in. Angels smit the army with blindness and Elisha took the Assyrian army into the midst of Samaria.

Is that your favorite story?


What do you want to be when you grown up?

Probably a police officer.  Maybe I want to have a job at home.  Something I can do at home that doesn’t take very long, but that I can get paid really well.

(He gets this kind of ambition from his dad.)

Tell me about what chores you do.

I clear the table, wipe the table, brush my teeth, and feed the cats.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably chicken fingers with Zax sauce. That’s reallly good.

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What are your favorite colors?

Green and blue.

Tell me about some of the hard things have happened this year.

I remember school. It’s just hard. Well, some school. (Madeline whispers something.) Oh yeah.  It’s been hard about Wild Kratts.

You have a pretty incredible testimony about taking authority over the enemy.

(He has a wonderful testimony of victory over the enemy, but he’s not ready to share it.  Though we have explained that we all sin and that our God’s greatness shines forth in how He redeems us from our sin, he gets very sad remembering some of the harsh, untrue words he said.  We were able to record his telling of the story for historical record, but for now, I just wanted to say here that our God is faithful and good.  Anson is on his way to becoming a warrior for the kingdom.)

(Around this time, we get off track again.  Erich says something about Anson’s favorite movie being How to Train Your Marsupial. Anson puts his eyelids inside out. And the children erupt into a wrestle-fest… We do another reassessment of the interview.  This time, we decide to send the other kids out and to wrap up with just Anson.)

What are you really good at?

I’m good at soccer, and I’m good at thinking.

What else?

I’m good at… What am I good at?

Do you want me to help you think of other things?


You’re good at building things out of Legos and learning facts about animals or states. Actually, you are great at learning all sorts of facts.  You learn memory work faster than everyone else. (He can rattle through bones of the skull, parts of the eye, and dozens of scriptures with ease.) You are great at Hebrew, especially making the “chet” sound. (Although when he gets exuberant with it, it’s a little scary…) You pick things up quickly and are a fast learner when you put your mind to it. (That seems to satisfy everyone, so we move on.)

What do you like to sleep with at night?

I like to sleep with Snoopy, Puppy, Bane, and all my animals.

Once again, things get off track. Erich and Anson end up getting involved in some kind of Buffalo game where Anson uses his head to try to shove Erich off the bed.  This time, we’re not going to reign it in.  We’re done for the night, and that’s probably a good thing.

You are a boy with immense potential, Anson.  We are excited to watch our faithful Abba continue to grow and mature you!

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Interpreting Dreams and Flawed Biblical Logic

A friend of mine recently posted this on facebook. I love how succinctly he put it.


Question 1: “Pharaoh had a dream about seven fat cows, followed by seven skinny cows. Was the dream really about cows?”

Answer 1: “Of course not! Scripture reveals just a few verses later that the dream was about seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine.”

Question 2: “Joseph had a dream about his brothers’ sheaves of wheat bowing to his own sheaf. Was the dream really about wheat?”

Answer 2: “No! Later on, we learn that this was a prophecy, fortelling of the event when his brothers would come to Egypt, not recognize him, and yet bow down to him.”

Question 3: “Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a multi-metal statue. Was the dream really about a statue?”

Answer 3: “Not at all! It was about the different kingdoms that would arise, starting with Babylon. Daniel gives the interpretation right after the dream is revealed, just a few verses later!”

Question 4: “Peter had a dream about a sheet of unclean animals. He hears a voice say, ‘Arise, slay, and eat.’ Was his dream really about unclean animals now becoming acceptable as food?”

Answer 4: “Of course it was! Can’t you read? He says slay and eat! Duh! Of course all unclean meats can be eaten now! Never mind verse 28 where he says something about PEOPLE being unclean, that is completely unrelated. This dream doesn’t need to be interpreted, it should be taken literally.”